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  • A word from our Occupational Therapist


    “Chew toys are great for children with special needs as they give deep proprioception (muscle) input to the muscles of the mouth.

    Many children who have a diagnosis of autism seek out oral motor input for a number of reasons. Their body is craving oral input as it helps them self-regulate. On the other hand, if their nervous system is over-sensitive, it puts the whole body on high alert, perhaps making a child feel anxious or stressed. Chewable toys may help to disarm the nervous system creating a calming effect.

    “It’s not only kids on the spectrum who crave and seek our oral motor input. Just look around any classroom, and you’ll easily pick those kids who like to chew on their pencils or chew on the collars of their shirts.”



    Jellystone Designs are fun, funky chew products to help kids get the oral motor input they are seeking, or helps to calm their nervous system, dependent on their needs. As with all chewable products, please refer to www.jellystonedesigns.com for full product safety guidelines. Always use under the supervision of an adult and be aware of the Jellystone design safety guidelines.”



    “Oral motor input is a very powerful and effective sensory input. It helps children self-regulate their behaviour. Self-regulation is where we actively do something to change our level of alertness. Just think of the strategies that you use to keep awake in a meeting – fiddling with a pencil, moving your feet, maybe even seeking some oral input through chewing on a pencil or chewing on a sweet?

    “Oral motor input changes our level of alertness and helps us to self-regulate extremely quickly. For example, if we feel a little tired or lethargic, oral motor input (eg chewing on something) will ‘wake up’ our nervous system very quickly. Or, if we are feeling stressed or we are feeling a little hyperactive (how many kids are a bit bouncy?) chewing will calm our nervous system quickly.

    “In addition, sometimes our sensory system is in sensory overload from another sense being too over responsive (for example if the touch sense is over responsive and a child is a picky eater or struggles to walk on different textures or dislikes being touched). When this happens, it impacts on our nervous system being in high alert. Having some good, deep oral motor input, such as chewing something, or using a sucking or blowing activity can help to disarm the whole nervous system, calming the child and helping them to do the activity they need to do. Oral motor input is very powerful and can have great positive changes on behaviour very quickly, but this effect doesn’t stay for hours in the nervous system. So to keep the child in his or her ‘just right’ state of being, simply back up with some full body proprioception input (such as pulling/ pushing or other gross motor activity such as a jump on the trampoline).”

    DEBBIE HOPPER BHlthSc (OT) CSturt; MHlthSc (OT) Syd. is an Occupational Therapist, Amazon No.1 Best Selling Author, Special Needs TV Reporter, workshop and keynote presenter. Deb is passionate about empowering parents and educators to understand the underlying reasons that children struggle with behaviour, self-esteem and sensory processing difficulties.

    A practicing Occupational Therapist she understands the daily struggles that children, parents and teachers face. Deb is the author of the Amazon No.1 Bestselling Book ‘Reducing Meltdowns and Improving Concentration: The Just Right Kids Technique’ and co-author of the CD ‘Sensory Songs for Tots’

    Deb has presented at national and international conferences including the Asia Pacific Autism Conference and The National Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Forum and is often called upon for media comment.